A Glendale City Council decision to apply for nearly $800,000 from the Tohono O'odham Nation signals a major shift in the city's relationship with the Indian community and reveals the city's newfound perspective of the TON's plans to build a resort-style casino in the West Valley.
Council members of the cash-strapped city voted unanimously to submit various grant applications for money that is part of a revenue sharing program in which all gaming tribes are required by law to participate.
For years, Glendale officials -- both elected and appointed -- fought bitterly in Maricopa County Superior Court, U.S. District Court and in the court of public opinion and spent millions of dollars to stop the Nation from moving forward with its casino plans.
Last week, Glendale decided to try and reach into the tribe's pocket.
See also: -Wanna Bet? The Tohono O'odham Want to Build a Casino in the West Valley -Congressman Ed Pastor Joins Congressman Trent Franks in Opposing TON Casino -Glendale City Council Begins Formal Casino Negotiations With Tohono O'odham Nation
Glendale didn't just fight in legal arenas -- the city exhausted its political capital using Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and Arizona's U.S. lawmakers, including Congressman Ed Pastor and Congressman Trent Franks. City officials, working closely with the Gila River Indian Community, leveraged those lawmakers' support and got them to propose legislation to block the casino.
GRIC opposed the TON's casino plans because, at present, GRIC is the only tribe with a West Valley casino. A new casino would undoubtedly cut into their market share.
Glendale and GRIC were once close allies. But now, Glendale is sidling up to the TON.
As part of the 2002 voter-approved gaming compacts, which allow the tribes sole authority to operate casinos in Arizona, tribes were required to dole out a fraction of their revenues to cities, towns or counties for services that would benefit the public.
- City officials agreed on June 10 to apply for the money for the following projects:
- Glendale Public Libraries - $101,699: More library space
- Glendale Gets Healthy-Fitness and Nutrition Program - $47,639.55: After-school program to combat childhood obesity
- Youth Sports Program - $43,056: Sports programs for children 4 to 17 years old.
- Police Department - $136,500: Purchase of two crime scene response vehicles
- Police Department - $60,164.12: Purchase of ten mobile data computers for cop cars.
- Fire Department - $376,704: Upgrade and refurbish the fire department's 32 heart monitors purchased in 2006.